Former Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse exchanged no calls with gangster Dawood Ibrahim, Maharashtra’s Anti Terror Squad or ATS has concluded after investigations, sources said today.
They said the ATS may file a case against whistleblower Manish Bangale, who had alleged that Mr Khadse had made several calls to a mobile number in Pakistan belonging to the underworld don, who tops India’s most wanted listed for his role in the 1993 Mumbai blasts that killed over 250 people.
The ATS, the sources said, has extensively checked phone records of the period that Mr Bangale, who describes himself as an ethical hacker, alleges the calls were made in. It has also checked records for the last few years, but found no exchange of calls between the BJP leader and Dawood Ibrahim. Mr Bangale has been given a month to respond by the ATS and explain his allegations.
Mr Khadse has denied the allegation and has said that his mobile number in question was not operational for the past one year.
Eknath Khadse resigned from the BJP-led Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra earlier this month as twin allegations swirled around him – a scandal over an illicit land deal and the Dawood call charge, which was first brought up by the Aam Aadmi Party. However, the BJP has backed the senior leader and rejected both allegations.
The crime branch of the Mumbai Police too had earlier said that the allegation had no substance.
Gujarat-based Mr Bhangale has moved the Bombay High Court seeking a CBI investigation into his allegations and his petition will be heard on June 14. The ATS had summoned Manish Bangale for questioning last week, but he did not show up.
Mr Bangale says he has based his allegation on records from a Pakistani telecom firm.
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